A Year in Review
MARCH 2021: Neighborhood Selection
Exactly one year ago, after walking the streets in 5 neighborhoods, making phone calls, knocking on doors, and meeting with residents, the team here at Habitat made the formal decision to partner with the residents of the Booker T Washington neighborhood in their pursuit of an enhanced quality of life. This was a data-based decision-making process, that prioritized resident engagement and a willingness to partner as the weightiest factors.
APRIL – JUNE 2021: Coalition Convening
Shortly after making the decision, we gathered a “coalition of the willing” to discuss how we can best support residents. We shared what Neighborhood Revitalization has to offer: convening and community organizing support, technical assistance, fundraising support, advocacy, data collection, leadership development, and quality of life planning. This kicked off a deeper data collection process to unearth which quality of life outcomes are most important to residents. We also collected a robust inventory of neighborhood assets. We directly asked every resident we spoke with one very fundamental question… “What gifts, skills, and interests do you have to offer your neighbors?” In our opinion, knowing this is EVERYTHING to advancing a community where everyone has somewhere to live, someone to love, and something to do!
JULY 2021: BTW Chat & Chew
To engage the margins of the neighborhood, the coalition threw a party in Futrell Park with games and food. Everyone in attendance filled out a survey about their quality of life. Additionally, maps of the neighborhood’s PAST, PRESENT, and FUTURE were presented with markers for residents to discuss their memories of the past, their perspective on the way things are, and what they hope to see happen from this effort.
AUGUST – SEPTEMBER 2021: Quality of Life Plan
With the support of the NR Team, the coalition held neighborhood planning meetings, where the sector outcomes of the quality of life plan were addressed. The result of these meetings was a Quality of Life Plan: A working document that gives the coalition direction based on the consensus of their neighbors and neighborhood stakeholders about what is important. This document will continue to evolve and guide the work of resident leaders in the years to come. See a short summary of the plan here.
OCTOBER 2021 – FEBRUARY 2022: Maintenance & Repair Kickoff
We are very proud to announce that, in response to the Quality of Life Plan, Habitat for Humanity of Horry County has accelerated the launch of a Maintenance and Repair program. We were able to accelerate the launch due to a generous grant from Bank of America. This program is intended to serve the entire county eventually, but we made the decision to bring it to BTW first as a pilot effort. In the past 6 months, we’ve served 8 homeowners, mobilized over 100 volunteers, and invested over $18,000 into homes. We’ve built wheelchair ramps, repaired fences, weatherized doors, painted, planted, and pruned landscaping, and addressed critical vulnerabilities on home exteriors. Check out this video… and this one!
MARCH 2022: Quarterly Community Update
This past March, the resident leaders in the coalition presented their first of many quarterly updates to the community at large. In this meeting, several residents found a way to plug their skills into the work. It was truly encouraging to witness!
APRIL – JUNE 2022: Community Impact Project
Led by the coalition, and the residents’ goals for a Healthy and Safe Community, we coordinated a Community Impact Project. This project gave ALL residents the opportunity to request a new porch light, house numbers, or mailbox. These items seem small, but make a huge impact on the felt sense of safety for both residents and visitors from the curb to the house! We served 67 homes with new products through this project!
JUNE – JULY 2022: Aging In Place Certification
In response to the high demand for holistic home repair for senior residents, our affiliate went through the process to become certified in Housing Plus. This program gives us the opportunity to partner with health and social service professionals to complete assessments that more holistically approach a senior person’s needs for modification to their home and lifestyle in order to age safely in their home. This doesn’t only preserve homes. It preserves the consistency of community by preventing senior displacement, and also preserves the well-being of our neighbors as they enter their later seasons of life.
That’s a full trip around the sun, friends! The first year of neighborhood partnership in the bag!
Speaking of partnership… We need to brag on some churches. As you might know, Habitat for Humanity’s mission is to put God’s love into action by building homes, communities and hope. Partnership with churches is a core piece of the work we do. Two churches surfaced as strong and ready partners for neighborhood revitalization: Sandy Grove Missionary Baptist Church and First Presbyterian Church of Myrtle Beach.
These church leaders and their congregations mutually felt it in their spirit to gather on their own volition to build relationships that were authentic and centered on truth and reconciliation. They started a bible study called “Disciples of Change,” and have included us in the organizing work of racial reconciliation while we mobilize them as a resource to the neighborhood. This partnership has been remarkable. The Disciples of Change are honest, listening, and brave believers in Christ who are chasing after Heaven on Earth relationships and just systems change. Check em out!
Since its inception in the fall of 2021, Disciples of Change has expanded to include Mt. Olive AME Church, also located in the BTW Neighborhood. We are so blessed to be sharing this work of building homes, community, and hope alongside these churches.
In the next 12 months, NR at Habitat for Humanity of Horry County will be focused on:
- Expanding neighborhood partnerships to carry out the Quality of Life Plan
- Serving more people with Maintenance and Repair and Aging in Place by expanding our capacity through a new construction team hire
- Creating a 3.5 year path to self-sustainability for the neighborhood coalition
- Launching our Neighborhood Selection Process to discover neighborhood partnership #2!
Together goes the neighborhood!